Recently I have been spending more time tasting proportionately than in my office – which is always the preferred mix (the unread emails are getting to impressive numbers though). People often ask me what my favourite wine is, what style, what country, all questions that I find a little tricky. When I’m tasting wine and evaluating it for the stores, it’s quite often that I can see the market for the wine, appreciate the style, but I don’t taste to what I like to drink – for if I did that, we’d then need to find a thousands of customers with exactly the same taste as I have. When we were in Italy, we were looking at wines at all levels of the market, this kind of tasting is very tough to do, particularly when a number of the wine styles and a number of the price points are not what I like, or where I purchase in.
So that all lead me to thinking over the weekend, what style of wine do I like? The problem is there are so many wines, producers and styles that I love. When I start to plan a dinner with friends and family, I generally start with working out what I’m going to cook and then start on deciding what wine will match with it, it’s rarely that I start with the wine and then work out what food will match with it. It also depends greatly on the environment, the time of the year and the company, this all affects what wine is my ‘favorite’ at that point in time. If it’s just the two of us at home, it’s usually a Spanish wine that wins, my husband loves Spanish wines and I have a passion for them. If there’s a few more of us and someone to ‘help’ me with the champagne, then it’s always champagne to start with, preferably a vintage champagne, I do have a soft spot for aged champagnes. If my husband is sharing in the champagne, it’s always Rosé. Occasionally I’ll convince my husband to share a bottle of Bordeaux with me, but that’s more my passion that his. Then there’s Burgundy which I adore, the Rhone which has a soft spot reserved, then it’s to the whites. So really it’s all quite tricky and I definitely hate the question – what’s your favorite wine?
A better question would be – what are the great wines you’ve tried, a little like the collection of top Restaurants that I’ve eaten at. The top 5 wines that spring to mind are –
# 1 – Dom Perignon 1973 – we drank it on our wedding day
# 2 – Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1953 – enjoyed recently, it was beyond belief
# 3 – Lafon Mersault Perrier 1991 – on the same night as the Lafite – incredible.
# 4 – Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita 2006 – it is never what you expect, Grenache and incredible
# 5 – any of the Madeira that we tasted at Blandy’s in Madeira – what a special experience.
Oh and to the top restaurants – what’s the latest?
# 1 – French Laundry – USA
# 2 – Tetsuya – Sydney – Australia
# 3 – El Bulli – Spain
# 4 – Beccase – Sydney – Australia
# 5 – Ortolon – Sydney – Australia
And if I could choose just one more bottle ever………Salon Champagne 1997